THE FRANK KIMBROUGH TRIO:
I have a hell of a time finding quiet, mellow, introspective piano thats not elevator music. Thank goodness Shirley Horn dropped this Trio off right at my door step. She told me Franks slow and passionate ballads could make her cry. Kimbrough leads one of the most listenable and harmonically interesting piano trios since Bill Evans. Jazz Times agrees: ...mellow and evocative sensitivity. Stereophile applauds, Ive seldom heard a more unified ensemble the piano is rich and liquid; the bass is deeply detailed the drums are crisp, relaxed, articulate An enormously appealing recording. (#56282)
Frank Kimbrough, piano
Billed as a protégé of Shirley Horn, Kimbrough is becoming widely known among the younger generation of pianists, and here he shares the podium with bassist Ben Wolfe and drummer Jeff Williams.
This session was recorded on the Maryland-based Mapleshade label a few years back and features the lyricism and interplay of the up-and-coming youngsters.
The album captures their mellow and evocative sensitivity on a variety of impressionistic originals, while Kimbrough gets inside the ballads (Jimmy Rowles The Peacocks and Ornettes Lonely Woman). Kimbrough is perhaps most effective in his rendition of Herbie Nichols House Parting Starting, achieving a true swinging sensibility; this may be his more natural affinity, as he impressed recently on an NEA fellowship of a Nichols project.
Kimbrough, Wolfe, and Williams are more than just talented jazz musicians- they're a trio. More akin to a classical piano trio - where no one lead voice predominates - than a conventional piano/bass/drums jazz unit, these three musicians achieve a rare level of pure communication in their playing. I've seldom heard a more unified ensemble approach in jazz. And they compose, too! Aside from three fairly diverse covers (Ornette Coleman, Herbie Nichols, Jimmy Rowles), they wrote everything on the disc.
The sound Sprey coaxes from them is the perfect complement to their melodic musicianship: the piano, an 80-year-old Steinway O, is rich and liquid; the bass is deeply detailed - when Wolfe plays arco, you can hear the rosin leaping off the horsehair; and the drums are crisp, relaxed, articulate. Theyre playing in a room, not a big one, but a real space with natural proportions and just a smidgen of decay - all perfectly portrayed. An enormously appealing recording.